We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
When it comes to fighting vampires and performing exorcisms, the Roman Catholic Church has the heavy artillery. Your other religions are good for everyday theological tasks, like steering their members into heaven, but when the undead lunge up out of their graves, you want a priest on the case. As a product of Catholic schools, I take a certain pride in this pre-eminence.
Oh, I'm aware that Rome takes a dim view of sensationalist superstition. The pope wrote an encyclical about new age tomfoolery just last week. But "John Carpenter's Vampires'' gets its imprimatur from the Hollywood Catholic Church, a branch that broke off about the time the priest climbed the stairs to Linda Blair's bedroom in "The Exorcist'' (1973). This is the kind of movie where the vampire killers hang rosaries from their rearview mirrors, and are blessed by a priest before they harpoon the vile creatures, and drag them into the sunlight for spontaneous combustion.
The movie stars James Woods as Jack Crow, hard-bitten vampire hunter, whose family was destroyed by vampires. He's fun to watch, with the dark glasses, the little cigar, and the sneer. Crow's informed by a cleric after the first raid, "I've notified Rome. They're wiring your payment to the Monterey account.'' Yes, the church, which once relied on prayer, holy water and crucifixes, now employs mercenaries to kill vampires. First the lay teachers in the parochial schools, now this.
Crow's partner is Montoya (Daniel Baldwin, jowliest of the Baldwin boys). They use a steel cable attached to a winch on a Jeep to drag the vampires into the sunlight, where they ignite in a way that looks uncannily as if they had Roman candles in their pants pockets.